Concert to celebrate Peter Sculthorpe

25 August 2014

The University of Sydney announces a special evening to celebrate the life and music of Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE, Australia's most revered composer of the 20th century. The free public performance will be presented by Sydney Conservatorium of Music and its students on Saturday 25 October 2014 from 7pm.

The gala event will be held in honour and celebration of the Emeritus Professor's immense, life-long contribution to music in this country, and the 51 years of his life that he devoted to the University of Sydney.

"Peter Sculthorpe is one of those extraordinary artists whose immeasurable impact on music will become more and more apparent in years to come.& The concert will give us a glimpse of the legacy of this gifted musician, as we again take enormous pleasure in listening to his most cherished works," said Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor, The University of Sydney.

Performances of three signature works written by the composer: Kakadu (1988), the Burke & Wills Suite (1986) and Canticle V will be presented by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony and Chamber Choir.

Marking the celebration, four colleagues and former students of Sculthorpe, ProfessorAnne BoydAM, Professor Matthew Hindson AM, Dr Ross Edwards AM and Kim Williams AM, will give personal reminiscences.

"Rarely is it given to a single individual to inscribe the soul of a nation in their musical utterance. As a passionate Australian seeking the spiritual in nature, such has been Peter's contribution to Australian culture as will be heard in the music performed in this concert," said Professor Boyd.

Peter Sculthorpe first came to the University of Sydney in 1963 at the invitation of Professor Donald Peart to take up an appointment as Lecturer in Music in the Faculty of Arts' Department of Music. His first teaching was in ethnomusicology, stimulating a lifelong interest in the musical traditions of Asia, of Japan and Bali in particular. He inflected all his teaching towards composition, nurturing generations of young composers.

He was promoted to a personal Chair in Musical Composition within the Faculty of Arts in 1991 and played a significant role in bringing the Sydney Conservatorium of Music into the University. In 2005 he became an Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sydney, and continued to support and inspire music students in the final years of his life. Peter Sculthorpe passed away earlier this month at the age of 85.

The Peter Sculthorpe concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is a free event, however tickets are required. Registration is essential and is available online at from Wednesday 1 October 2014 with a limit of two tickets per person.

Event Details

What: Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE (1929-2014) - In celebration of his life and music

When: Saturday 25 October at 7pm

Where: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Cost: Free - bookings essential at from 1 October 2014

Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

Media enquiries: Mandy Campbell 0481 0122 742 or